The Times West Virginian

January 27, 2014

Sandi Stewart-Wagner gives back to community

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

WHITE HALL — Volunteering: It’s something Sandi Stewart-Wagner knows a lot about.

Between working full-time and raising a family, any extra time Sandi has she can be found volunteering.

Sandi volunteers with West Virginia Public Broadcasting (PBS), the Kiwanis Club of White Hall, the West Virginia Three Rivers Festival and the Marion County 4-H Camp Mar Mac. When she volunteers with PBS, it’s a little different than what comes to mind when talking about volunteering.

“For many years now I have been an on-air host during their pledge drives,” Sandi said.

Sandi volunteers with PBS four times year for the telethons they put on for their pledge drive. She said programs on PBS are funded by the public and the pledge drives help encourage people who enjoy the network to donate.

“The pledge drives are about the people who enjoy the programs on PBS and having them support those programs,” Sandi said.

In the late 1980s, Sandi’s sister asked her to answer telephones during the pledge drive. After several pledge drives of answering phones, Sandi was then asked to host the pledge drive and has done so ever since.

Being the host of the drive, which is filmed live, Sandi encourages viewers to donate and explains why PBS has pledge drives.

“My family gets a kick out of it because we’ll be out somewhere and someone will come up to me and recognize me from PBS,” she said. “During the drives, there’s no script. You just talk about the message that PBS provides and what the money goes to.”

One of the reasons Sandi enjoys volunteering with PBS is because she grew up watching the network as a child.

“When I would get ready for kindergarten, I would watch ‘Sesame Street,’” she said.

While growing up in Fairmont, her favorite show on PBS was “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

“I loved ‘Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.’ It was a fantastic kids’ show,” Sandi said.

Today, she has passed her love of PBS on to her children.

“Now my kids rely on PBS,” Sandi said. “They watch ‘Cat in the Hat’ and ‘Sesame Street’ and all the great programs.”

Sandi doesn’t stop at the pledge drives. She also volunteers her time by making voiceovers for PBS.

“I do all the voiceovers for their program ‘Ready to Learn,’” she said.

As for the rest of her volunteering time, Sandi and her husband Bill are involved with the Kiwanis Club of White Hall.

From high school to college, Sandi has been a member of a club that was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

“I was involved with the Key Club in high school and then I went on to the Circle K, which is the collegiate-level of the club,” she said.

When the Kiwanis Club of White Hall began, Sandi and Bill were asked by Jack Squires to be charter members.

“So I’ve been involved with the Kiwanis family ever since I was in high school,” Sandi said.

Sandi and Bill are also on the board of the Marion County 4-H Camp Mar Mac and volunteer their time each year at the West Virginia Three Rivers Festival.

Volunteering for Sandi and Bill is just one way they can give back.

“We just really love our community and this area,” Sandi said.

Sandi said they believe it’s important to give back and they have met a lot of people through their volunteer work.

“We just want to give back to the community,” she said.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallaher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.